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TTFA braces for hellfire at Glorious Saturday AGM; DJW expected to survive as president

Embattled Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams is expected to face another grilling on Glorious Saturday when the local football body attempts to hold its AGM for a sixth time.

However, despite concerns about John-Williams’ stewardship—financial and otherwise—and autocratic behaviour, according to football insider, there are two main reasons why the W Connection Football Club owner is unlikely to face a no confidence motion,

Photo: FIFA president Gianni Infantino (right) and TTFA president David John-Williams at a media conference at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 April, 2017.
(Courtesy Sean Morrison/Wired868)

First, the threshold to remove the TTFA president is two-thirds of the electorate, which could mean that 33 members of the body’s 49 delegates must support the motion.

“Essentially as it stands, our Constitution allows our president to stay in power by just keeping 16 delegates or three bodies happy while everyone else is unhappy,” Secondary Schools Football League (SSFL) president William Wallace told Wired868. “And I feel that cannot be right. We have to look at that or else we can keep having leaders who are supported by only a minority of stakeholders.”

Two and a half years ago, John-Williams replaced incumbent Raymond Tim Kee as president after securing 18 votes in the first round and 25 in the second round with 45 delegates present.

Ironically, at least one-third of the voters were ineligible owing to errors by the Dinanath Ramnarine-led electoral committee. But FIFA allowed the result to stand.

The second snag to any potential attempt to remove John-Williams is that, even if the members were able to crowbar the bombastic administrator out of office, his replacement—according to the body’s Constitution—will be first vice-president Ewing Davis. And not many see swapping John-Williams for Davis as an improvement.

Photo: Then SPORTT CEO Adam Montserin (centre) greets players and officials before kick-off between Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados at the Ato Boldon Stadium in Couva on 10 March, 2017.
TTFA vice-president Ewing Davis (right) broke away from the customary pre-game ritual to take a phone call.
(Copyright CAI Images/Wired868)

“If we are removing John-Williams, we have to move his whole executive,” said Trinidad and Tobago Super League (TTSL) president Keith Look Loy. “Because if we remove John-Williams tomorrow, Ewing Davis takes over as first vice-president and people don’t want that at all.”

Last Friday, roughly one-third of the TTFA membership turned up at the Cycling Velodrome in Couva for a meeting called by Wallace to ponder the next move for their elusive president.

There was little surprise when the John-Williams-led Board scheduled the next AGM for Saturday 31 March—two days before Easter Monday and a day after Spiritual Baptist Day and Good Friday. Two of the TTFA’s last three AGMs were on Carnival Friday evening and two days before Christmas Day.

Last week, John-Williams sought FIFA support for his controversial adjournment of the AGM although, crucially, the TTFA president allowed the governing body to believe that Look Loy’s election was on the agenda—thus suggesting that a quorum was required. In fact, Look Loy had been installed on the TTFA Board three months earlier.

If John-Williams tries to repeat the trick of a hasty adjournment without support from the floor, the members are prepared to take control of the meeting themselves—as permitted by the Constitution.

Photo: (From left to right) SSFL president William Wallace, moderator Anthony Harford and sport attorney Ricardo Williams listen to a submission from the floor during the SSFL’s first Stakeholders Forum at the National Cycling Centre in Couva on 24 February, 2018.
(Copyright Allan V Crane/CA-images/Wired868)

“We have a plan for Saturday to make sure the meeting comes off,” said Wallace. “Whether the questions we want answered will be answered is a next thing but let us see how it goes first.

“Basically, the tone of [last Friday’s] meeting is we cannot continue like this because they are too many unanswered questions and we seem to be run by a board that doesn’t exist.”

Wired868 understands that TTFA finance manager Tyril Patrick tendered his resignation earlier this month and continues to serve only until a replacement can be found. Patrick has in the past refused to attend the AGM to field questions, according to sources.

On Saturday, if John-Williams stages another walkout, members can vote on a motion to censor him. Failure to have the TTFA’s 2016 Financial Statement approved by the general meeting, it is worth noting, would also mean that the local football body cannot access FIFA funding in the immediate future.

Beyond the symbolic rap on the knuckles, the potential for further financial strain on the TTFA and the negative attention he is drawing to himself, John-Williams is unlikely to face any real sanction.

Photo: TTFA president and W Connection owner David John-Williams (centre) greets players (from right) Hughtun Hector, Alvin Jones and Maurice Forde before kick-off against Police FC in the TTFA FA Trophy final at the Ato Boldon Stadium on 8 December, 2017.
(Courtesy Allan V Crane/CA-Images/Wired868)

The Pro League has 10 votes and John-Williams is believed to have support from between five to eight delegates. Former TTSL interim board member Lt Ryan Ottley, who lost to Look Loy in the second tier competition’s presidential election, is believed to support the TTFA president and can potentially pick off some of the TTSL’s eight votes too.

And John-Williams is felt to be supported by delegates from the Southern Football Association (SFA), the Eastern Counties Football Union (ECFU) and the Futsal organisation, who have a combined eight votes.

It would put the current President’s political support somewhere between a 13—at least—and 19 votes while he needs 15 or 16 votes to survive—although the TTFA Constitution lists a total of 49 delegates, the Players Association and Coaches Association exist only on paper.

“By and large, the Super League believes he has to go but it is a matter of time and succession planning,” said Look Loy. “It is not election where 50 plus one is enough. As it stands, we can find votes to move him but not to remove him.

“There are a large number of people who think he is destroying football but we need to prepare his removal properly and ensure we have the right people in place to take over from him.”

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) president David John-Williams (right) performs a duet with former Calypso Monarch, Cro Cro, at the launch of the National Elite Youth Development Program at the Trinidad Hilton on 14 October, 2016.

Look Loy pointed again to the fact that, if moved, John-Williams’ position will go to one of his vice-presidents who are, in order, Davis, Joanne Salazar and Allan Warner. The membership would enter unprecedented territory—and, potentially, a constitutional minefield—if they attempted to move an entire slate in mid-term.

“To remove all four by motion, politically I can see a real problem [in getting that done],” said Look Loy. “So some people are saying let us just control them and wait for the 2019 election [to vote them out]. That might be hard for people on the outside to accept but that is the thinking of some people inside the football.”

Current TTFA board of directors: David John-Williams (president), Joanne Salazar, Ewing Davis and Allan Warner (vice-presidents), Sherwyn Dyer (Eastern Counties Football Union), Karanjabari Williams (Northern FA), Richard Quan Chan (Southern FA), Anthony Moore (Tobago FA), Joseph Taylor (Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association), Sharon O’Brien (Women’s League Football) and Wayne Cunningham (Eastern FA).

Vacant spots: Central FA and TT Pro League.

Photo: TTFA vice-president and Soca Warriors head of delegation Ewing Davis (centre) turns up for breakfast on an overseas tour in an Adidas vest and short pants.
The players (background) are outfitted in Joma jerseys and track pants.

TTFA Membership (number of delegates in brackets): TT Pro League (10), National Super League (8), Central FA (3), Eastern FA (3), Eastern Counties Football Union (3), Northern FA (3) Southern FA (3), Tobago FA (3), Women Association (3), Trinidad and Tobago Football Referees Association (3), Futsal Association of T&T (FATT) (3), Primary Schools League (1), Secondary School Football League (SSFL) (1), TTAYSO (1), Players Association (1), Coaches Association (1), T&T Beach Soccer Association (1), Veteran Footballers Foundation of Trinidad and Tobago (1).

About Lasana Liburd

Lasana Liburd
Lasana Liburd is the CEO and Editor at Wired868.com and a journalist with over 20 years experience at several Trinidad and Tobago and international publications including Play the Game, World Soccer, UK Guardian and the Trinidad Express.

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57 comments

  1. Can the TTFA membership repeal or remove an article or amendment from its Constitution?
    1. Anybody can ask a question
    2. Anybody can answer
    Here’s how it works:

    This constitution framed by the TTFA is a “living document”.
    However, the members based on media reports is under the assumption that it is a one-time forever document? This is not the universal intent or understanding of a constitution.
    That amendments exists shows that yes, you can amend a constitution. It’s a “living document”.
    You can repeal an amendment by amending the constitution by membership voting for a new amendment.
    A document that is continually edited or updated must reflect change with Membership needs.
    You have to be ignorant of the law to think that the document cannot be changed and adapt to new circumstances without being formally amended.
    A constitution is written to be adapted by future generations. It is not an option. It is a fact.
    That it was not written with the intention to be quiescent.
    .
    Articles could also be “repealed” via further amendments.
    The TTFA constitution can be changed through amendments. An amendment can also repel or modify one of the articles or a previously made amendment.
    In order for an amendment to become part of the constitution, it first needs to pass at the Annual general meeting and confirmed by the executive.
    There is a two-thirds majority vote and then be ratified by the executive before it become the adoption.
    The questions, as posed, are somewhat problematic.
    First,
    club members are not equipped to vote.( Address this)
    Votes are cast by delegates who allegedly can be bought (check The ethics of Law)
    Second,
    The conjunction “or”, linking the second question to the first, is misplaced.
    It presumes a corollary relationship between the two questions.
    The constitution is not permanent, in the common sense of that concept. It is, however, subject to amendment by a purposely long and arduous process.
    Any proposed change to the constitution, be it addition or subtraction or alteration, is defined as an amendment. For the future of soccer in the country, Members should have a voice in this quest for change.
    Trinidad & Tobago Sports organizations have one thing in common .They all have the same constitution .See one, you see all; the only exception is the name of the discipline represented.

    By the way , I’ll take a look at Amendments, changes or repeal of a Constitution in T&T which popular opinion say can only be done by the August body of the organization at an Annual General Meeting or a Special General Meeting specifically called for that purpose.
    Do you understand the position perceived? Well the August body represents the membership that elected the Executive. Any ratification of this resides with the Annual General Meeting and not the Executive.
    Off course the constitution will spell out the rules regarding voting rights of the privilege few invited to participate. The Cabal!
    This is not surprising, The same thing is happening in the TTOC, NAAA, TGA, TSA !
    This is endemic to sporting organization in T&T. FIX IT!

  2. If the constitution is a problem ,Then find ways to amend it ! Find a statute to repeal it ! Sporting bodies in T&T seem to all have constitutional problems. This is a new era !

  3. ..And that is called Democracy. Government of the People, BY the People, FOR the People. The opposite is called Dictatorship..

    • There is no such thing as democracy, you can continue fooling yourselves. You elect someone based on your perception of their leadership ability, then when they’re leading you’ll want to dictate how they should lead. Everybody wants to have a say with no responsibility. Change is difficult especially with people with little vision.

    • Don’t misunderstand, if the leader has reports to bring forth, its their responsibility to do so in the time it should be delivered. I’m not condoning irresponsibility at all. I’m saying your view on how the organization should move forward may not be the leaders’s view.

    • ..Then take what you get. Some of us will fight..

    • Keith Look Loy fight against what?

    • Cla, your view of democracy is you vote to give someone total power and then just hush and let him or her do as they like for four or five years?

    • Lasana Liburd no sir that’s not what I indicated above. As I said they have to bring reports of their stewardship as required by the constitution and bylaws. But what happens is that a leader’s leadership style is what is at the Centre of these debates most of the times. Take them to task if there’re going array of the constitution or bylaws by all means.

    • Keith Look Loy smh. Is your view the only correct view?

    • ..Not at all. But I will depart this now..

    • Keith Look Loy wise decision

    • Cla in my interviews, the members repeatedly point to constitutional violations and problems of accountability. I think any words about his manners are just by the way.
      You might have to point to evidence that the issue is just a management of style but that isn’t impression I got at all.

    • His bedside manner aside is irrelevant ….if he is being called to display relevant documents of financial accountability and such and is dismissing meetings despite constitutional protocols ….it breathes conspiracy and there are rules (or supposed to be) to counter this. Him going to FIFA and such is a defense mechanism …..what is the process by which his current actions can have him removed? Does the board know what they are and are they willing to invoke it? What I’m seeing is an organization where the leadership is lost but no distinct means of dealing with the current situation. Imo 1) A clear list of his “infidelities” should be documented and listed and shared to the members 2) Based on these grievances one can clearly identify which amendments he has legally broken by his actions 3) Assess what necessary actions are in place for his removal or overriding of his authority. In a nutshell … I’m no lawyer but right now everybody is just grumbling and venting but we’re no closer to a solution than the day he first took power

    • ..But we are brother. Saturday..

    • ..The apple falls of its own weight under the pull of gravity..

    • Excellent …. I’m all about gravity and it’s effects ….

    • The TTFA is a Non-Governmental Sports Organization

      This article [x,y,z] has multiple issues.
      1- We need help to improve it or discuss these issues
      2- This article needs additional citations for verification
      3. This article contains content that is written like an advertisement
      4- The article is “Forever”. It must be amended
      Its content is determined by previously published information rather than the beliefs or experiences or opinions of the presenter.

      Even if you’re sure something is true, it must be verifiable before you can use it.
      You must show proof: visual, auditory, physical, medical certification. Eye witness.
      When reliable sources disagree, maintain a neutral point of view and present what the various sources say, giving each side its due weight.
      What evidence do you have?
      Here are some types of evidence:
      Direct a witness testimony; I saw !
      Circumstantial-evidence : that requires an inference based on an experience indirect evidence,
      Real/demonstrative : photo ,representation, recording physical relating to the matter it may be direct or circumstantial
      Testimonial by a witness
      Documentary-written or recorded relating to an event or fact.
      Character evidence is inadmissible
      Character issue may be by opinion, reputation or specific acts
      Impeachment –prove not creditable. The intent is to discredit
      All material including everything in articles, lists and captions, must be verifiable.
      All quotations, and any material whose verifiability has been challenged or is likely to be challenged, must include an inline citation “APA –in text Citation”that directly supports the material.
      Any material that needs a source but does not have one may be removed.
      remove contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced.

  4. The problem I think as usual the unelected wants to control the elected.

  5. “There was little surprise when the John-Williams-led Board scheduled the next AGM for Saturday 31 March—two days before Easter Monday and a day after Spiritual Baptist Day and Good Friday. Two of the TTFA’s last three AGMs were on Carnival Friday evening and two days before Christmas Day.” Oh yea

  6. Randy – The problem is not the constitution. The problem is the membership who fail to show up at meetings. The problem is also the shortsighted cabal who believes that the only way to initiate change is to remove the leader. They don’t pay attention to history. How many TTFA/TTFF presidents have we had? How many can we say have served us well? The one commonality has been a weak, non-active membership. Change that and you will force proper leadership.

    • Your observation makes a lot of sense!

    • It’s easier to change the leader than to change the membership, but your point is sound.

    • Carlos Lee that sounds like the problem with the country and by extension the world.
      Democracy’s biggest problem has always been its membership.

    • Brian the membership comprises of entities, such as the Regional associations (EFA, CFA etc.), the SSFL, the Pro League, TTAYSO etc. So yes, in a very technical sense changing these member entities would require a Constitutional amendment.

      However, the problem isn’t these member entities, it’s the human representatives the entities send on their behalf. The member entities need to do a better job in selecting who they elect as representatives to the TTFA. That’s a much easier fix than a Constitutional amendment.

    • Nigel …and that’s a major problem in sport or rather sports with money. The membership is largely ‘volunteers’ made up of persons who mean well, but usually inexperienced or unqualified [Qualified pros come at a price] to run operation as a business entity. Hence, any leader can manipulate the game when the needs are many and the resources come from few.

    • Nicholas your point is valid but in this situation it isn’t about experience it’s about the ethics of the thing. The ttfa president needs to be replaced and all these entities need to come forward and say this. No amount of ability or pedigree is needed just a decent grasp of right from wrong and the acquisition of some guts. Surely this isn’t too much to ask …..

    • Nicholas you make a fair point about amateurism among the membership, but one doesn’t need to have any sort of professional experience (no matter the field) to recognize authoritarianism and cronyism when one sees it. Without having all the inside details, I suspect that many are willingly being ‘manipulated’ by DJW. Some people will sell their soul for a free ticket to an international friendly.

    • I’m not proposing replacing the member representatives. What I’m proposing is that the cabal focus their efforts on encouraging the membership representatives to show up at meetings and stay actively engage. By being present they will be able to hold the president accountable and force him to serve the needs of the country. By being absent from meetings they are facilitating his desire for full authoritative control. Getting rid of the president, as history shows, solves nothing.

    • Malik – as I said earlier none of our former TTFA/TTFF presidents have served us well. Do you think DJW is worst that Tim Kee? Is he worst than O. Camps, the man who facilitated JAW control of the football treasury? Or have you forgotten. Instead of trying to replace the current leader, which is nearly impossible, the member representative need to do their jobs. They need to attend meetings – all meetings. 100% attendance. They need to get key items on the agenda to help arrest control of the organization away from a the one to two people that want to wheel full power. If they work together and support one another the president would be forced to serve the needs of the membership and not his own.

    • That culture of missing meetings as Nicholas stated would be difficult to change overnight, but there are two issues. The dereliction of representatives and the alleged malfeasance of the President. Both need to be addressed in my humble opinion. Seems to me the President issue can be addressed sooner, but I could be wrong.

    • It’s crazy that 46 representatives and the thousands of people they serve can’t control one man. What we have is one man controlling 46 men/women and the people they serve. Seems just a lil backwards?

    • Carlos you really comparing David Jack Warner to Tim Kee?

    • Lol – DJW is David John Williams not Jack Warner.

    • The lines are getting blurred between the two.

    • Carlos Lee I agree completely because the members are sitting back and allowing one man to make decisions. Have they forgotten what a democracy is? Or maybe it’s easier to let someone else make decisions whilst they sit in their false positions of power thinking that they have some position of stature. Embarrassments to themselves and the sport ……..

  7. Oh what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive

  8. TTFA needs to have a comprehensive look at its Constitution.I thought Jack was the problem??But its really us!!

  9. The membership ought to consider that.

  10. Lasana Liburd If it doesn’t exist, why don’t these positions have performance reviews that can aid in determining effectiveness.

  11. “And I feel [the requirement of a two-thirds vote for removal] cannot be right. We have to look at that or else we can keep having leaders who are supported by only a minority of stakeholders.”

    I think the two-thirds requirement is sound, as the removal of the President should be seen as an extraordinary circumstance, requiring extraordinary support of the membership. Not sure what other threshold would suffice. Simple majority certainly would not cut it.

  12. As the saying goes The more things changes the more it stays the same.

  13. ..The man doesn’t care about members he will care about a poll? Still, can it be done Lasana?..

  14. Is there anything we can do ….run a poll ….. anything???

  15. Lasana is Holy Week so I will reserve comments until AFTER Saturday’s meeting

  16. ..We also need to see the results of the audit done by FIFA early last week. DJW needs to release that to the Board and the general!membership..

  17. ..And yes – there are those, also in TTSL – who will support this disaster for their own reasons. Such is Life. Such is Politics..

  18. ..Beyond his refusal to recognize the validity of Saturday’s meeting, members could censure John-Williams and his executives (and even the Board) for their shoddy delivery of the 2017 AGM and, equally, if there no satisfactory responses to the library of questions regarding financial, administrative and technical matters that Selby Browne and I have posed directly to the President and the Board. That may not have constitutonal consequence but it would surely have political weight and set the stage for the political movement to end ths disaster of a presidency that is John-Williams’..